Spatial ability subfactors and their influences on a computer-based information search task

Richard Pak, Wendy A. Rogers, Arthur D. Fisk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The present study examined the relationship between two distinct subfactors of spatial ability and performance in an information search task modeled on browsing the Web. Background: Previous studies have found relationships between various measures of spatial ability and performance in a wide variety of computer-based tasks. Method: In the search task 101 participants (18-29 years of age) searched for the answer to a question by navigating the system. They completed the experimental task as well as a battery of cognitive ability measures that included two different measures of spatial ability. Results: The results indicate that spatial orientation ability was related to performance with tasks that were high in their navigational requirement (engendered by the use of a novel aid), whereas spatial visualization was unrelated to performance in any task condition. Conclusion: A closer inspection of the cognitive requirements of a task may reveal what interventions could be most useful when designing computer systems or developing training programs. Application: Given the unique differences between the different spatial abilities, the current results suggest the design of navigational aids that place less demand on spatial orientation ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-165
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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